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Finding Family Members Who Fought in World War II

It is not unusual to want to learn more about family members who fought in World War II. Each person who was involved has a story. It is my hope that this material will help you find it.

For Veterans Writing Your Own Memoirs

"U.S. troops go over the side of a Coast Guard manned combat transport to enter the landing barges at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, as the invasion gets under way." November 1943.

Before you go on to the the material listed here, I want to thank every veteran who sees this for your service.  You gave up part of your life to keep this country safe and our freedoms secure.  There is no way to repay you for what you did.  I hope the material in this section helps you write your own personal record of your service.  Again, many thanks.

The picture to the right is from the National Archives online.  "U.S. troops go over the side of a Coast Guard manned combat transport to enter the landing barges at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, as the invasion gets under way." November 1943.

This is a link to a much larger version of the picture at the National Archives online.

If You Are Interviewing a Veteran

If you are not a veteran and are planning to interview a vet about their war experiences, make sure you have their full cooperation.  Do not assume that they will jump at the chance to save their memories.  Once veterans begin to tell their stories , they often are no longer sitting in your living room in 2015. They are on the battlefield, reliving a traumatic experience.  They often had close friends who died. It's why vets often only talk to other vets about the war and not to their families. Anyone who has not gone through it, cannot understand what the vet is dealing with.  Be aware of this. Above all, respect the veteran's wishes, whether they decide they are not up to it or the interview becomes too much for them.

Writing Your Military Stories: From Battles to Bar Fights

The First Fifteen Pages

This link allows you to take a look at the first fifteen pages of the book mentioned above.  Although the site gives you ample opportunity to buy the book, don't forget that you can also get a copy from your local public library.  If they don't own a copy, they should be able to borrow a copy for you from another library using Interlibrary Loan. The lending library can be located anywhere in the United States.

Make sure you scroll down to see these pages.  The book text begins on page 3, which is the fifth sheet.

While You are Writing, You Might Need...

Veterans Benefits Online from the VA

In the box above, you will see a book that will help explain benefits.

Veterans History Project -- Library of Congress

The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.

Veterans Links from the City of Newton

Newton War Memorial, Hall of Flags

War Memorial, Hall of Flags, Newton City Hall

From the Veterans History Project

Additional Books

These books are geared to a more general audience, but may have helpful suggestions for your own work.

Author of Page

Ginny Audet's picture
Ginny Audet
Reference Department
Newton Free Library
330 Homer Street
Newton, MA 02459